December 19, 2010
When my wife and I decided to adopt we had no idea about the roller coaster of emotions, stress and paperwork we were going to be faced with. Fortunately one of the first things we did was find a support group. Having a support group has been the single biggest factor in helping us keep our sanity in our adoption journey, and we plan to stay involved in this group far into the future.
Our group, of roughly thirty, meets monthly for a couple of hours at a local church. Since a majority of the time is spent sharing individual stories and challenges we rarely have kids in our meetings. We do plan other activities outside of the normal monthly meetings where families get together to share a meal and hang out.
We often start the group by introducing ourselves to new couples and sharing a quick status “update” of what has been going since we last met. The second half of the meeting often focuses around a specific topic and is typically led by a different person in the group each month. If the group is particularly big, we will break out into smaller groups to help facilitate the discussion. In between meetings, many of us stay in contact via email or Facebook and even meet for coffee every once in a while.
Meeting with others who are going through the adoption process, have already adopted, or are considering adoption has helped us in the following ways:
- We have discovered local resources.
- We have learned about parenting methods, the challenges of having a multi-racial family and the realities of being adoptive parents.
- Our minds have been eased as others have shared how they managed the large amount of paperwork, what they did to keep sane during “The Wait,” and how they prepared for travel.
- Our current ways of thinking and evaluating our situation from a perspective we may have otherwise missed has been challenged and expanded by other parents in our support group.
- We are able to share in the adventure of adoption and the joys of parenthood with others.
- We have met many life-long friends.
Depending on where you live, there are a variety of places you can look to connect with a support group. We were able to find our group through a local church. I recommend checking with any local community centers, schools, libraries, or government agencies. If these fail, there’s always Google. There are a number of online forums and websites that you can join or you can create your own.
MLJ Adoptions, Inc. supports the idea of participating in support groups during and after the adoption process; however, we strongly discourage any electronic (email, forums, facebook, twitter, etc.) dissemination of information about your adoption process or the child you intend to adopt in the best interest of your child, your adoption, and the hope of other children to find a family.